U.S. Air Force officials believe the military branch will not have enough airmen to maintain F-16s and F-35s if Congress keeps the A-10 Warthog program alive, Air Force Times reported Tuesday.
Brian Everstine writes the military service is aiming to retire the A-10 fleet so the branch can move its F-16 jets from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to two other air bases in Missouri and Indiana.
Officials said in a talking paper, obtained by the publication, that A-10 retirement and F-16 transfer are necessary to make the Hill AFB available for F-35 operations later this year.
The House Armed Services Committee on Monday unveiled a fiscal 2016 defense policy bill that would allocate $683 million to keep the attack planes from a planned retirement.
Air Force officials have warned that keeping the A-10 fleet operational could prompt the branch to retire several F-16s or postpone the deployment of F-35s until next year, according to DoD Buzz.